The Chocolate Cult: South Bend Basket 3

Saturday, December 22, 2012

South Bend Basket 3

I know that there are plenty of winter holidays left but I still have time to finish sharing the treats in the lovely gift basket we got from the South Bend Chocolate Company back at the end of May 2012.  This is a great item from that basket to share now because it is a gift you can give all on it's own: a box of chocolates.

In this case it is the 12 oz assorted milk chocolate box with 24 individual pieces inside.  From looking at it, I'm betting several of the pieces are the same such as the third and fifth piece along the central row that I have given to our Fruit Acolyte because I think these are coconut.  I suspect that in that same row the first, fourth, and sixth pieces are identical as well.  So with this in mind I will do one large Saturday Sacrament today as we try to figure out what these flavors are.  Again, while I know that chocolate companies love to have us "explore" their collections this is not helpful to people with allergies or specific tastes.  I used their website to help with some of the flavors but not all were pictured.  Also I tried this box, along with others in our Cult, over the course of several weekends. This is NOT a box you should be eating in one sitting, slow down and enjoy.

This first one is unique and it appears to have a slice of almond on top of it.  This might be the Alpine Amaretto Meltaway that I can see on their website.   Even with this large sliver of almond on top, this only has a creamy milk chocolate scent though the lack of vanilla is telling me that something else has overcome the standard South Bend Chocolate fragrance.  It immediately begins to melt in my finger tips but it makes no sound when I take a bite, not even the sliver on top makes a noise.  It has a slight Amaretto flavor but primarily this is a creamy milk chocolate with a subtle burn at the end of it.  definitely not the best of this variety of milk chocolate cream I've had since we began at the end of February 2009, Sisters and Brothers.

The second chocolate is a rectangular piece with three horizontal stripes across the top that I think may be the Jamaican Rum Meltaway.    It has a bit of a kick to it, a strong rum flavor and at first a little kick, but over all it is a very smooth, creamy milk chocolate that does indeed melt in your mouth.  This looks identical to piece 20 in the box and, in fact, when I tested that one it was also the same variety.

The third chocolate in the box is a very round one with two yellow stripes on top.  This is not on the website and it really only has a creamy milk chocolate scent to it.  Biting into creates a very soft sound as I find a very jelly like bright yellow center.  It has a very sweet lemon flavor to it that turns more sour as time passing. Sadly the lemon overwhelms the milk chocolate fairly quickly and becomes the dominant essence.

The fourth piece in this box appears to be the same as the 17th piece.  1.25 X 1.25 X 0.5 inch piece has a tangy sort of scent that comes through the creamy milk chocolate.  Biting into it I discover a firm caramel center making this the Caramel Milk Chocolate.  The caramel is slight tangy and not sweet, it is firm but melts once it enters my mouth.  It blends very well with the milk chocolate at first then becomes the primary flavor partly because it sticks to my teeth bit.  The 17th piece is exactly the same as this one.

The next piece is some type of nut cluster but South Bend Chocolate has at least three varieties of this sort of candy -- almond, peanut, and cashew. The only scent is of the milk chocolate so I must take a bite to determine the sort of cluster this is.  The chocolate crunches and immediately I have a roasted peanut flavor in my mouth surrounded by the milk chocolate.  The 20th piece in the box is the same.

The next piece looks similar to the Caramel Milk Chocolate but it is smaller at 3/8th inch thick; it is identical to the 23rd piece in the box.  A very light peanut essence drifts up when I take a deep breath of this before biting.  As my nose suggested, inside is a creamy roasted peanut center clarifying this as a Peanut Butter Meltaway as is the other identical piece in the box.  The inside is very creamy, not salty at all, and blends with the milk chocolate not overwhelming it.

The next chocolate and the 18th one in the box are both Orange Meltaway if the lines of raised chocolate on the top is a good indication.  There is a definite sweet orange scent under the milk chocolate.  This is a very firm piece of candy, the coating makes a soft sound when I take a bite and the inside is a firm but creamy milk chocolate with orange blended into it. This blending of the two flavors inside allows the chocolate to be the dominant flavors making this one of my favorite pieces so far in the box.

Ending this row and beginning the third row in the box are four pieces of Toffee wrapped in milk chocolate; two pieces per paper cup.  Are these a nut based toffee or just a butter toffee?  There is a slight tangy scent to the milk chocolate and it makes a very loud snap when I bite because inside is a solid toffee center.  It is buttery but not as buttery as many I have tasted nor do I see or taste almonds or other nuts inside.  As with most toffee and chocolate, the milk variety doesn't stand up as well as the darker versions generally do but these are thin enough at one-quarter an inch that the two flavors are balanced.

Three of the center row chocolates appear to be identical but are they?  There are three similarly looking candies on the South Bend Chocolate website so I'll have to try them all.  I know, the things I am willing to do for you all, huh, Sisters and Brothers?  The first one of these is definitely a Cashew Caramel Patty with nut pieces amid a very softy and tangy caramel.  The middle piece that looks the same is the same as the final piece of this shape.  So three Cashew Caramel Patty in this box and each is delicious!

There are ways that chocolatiers mark their individual chocolates: color on them, paper they are wrapped in, and markings made with the chocolate itself.  This next piece, the second one in row two, is a Coffee Mocha Meltaway if the circular swirl on top identifies it correctly.

In the center row we have two identical pieces that I believe are coconut based making them the Coconut Haystacks in Milk Chocolate.  Our Fruit Acolyte's opinion: The coconut things smell sweet, faintly chocolaty. Biting into them, the texture is gritty it crumbles away with a strange overwhelming
flavor of unidentified fruit. I think it's cherry. There is no distinct chocolate or coconut flavor to it, although the coconut shreds remained caught in my teeth long after the chocolate was gone.
The coconut was kind of bitter and on a whole it left a very unpleasant syrupy taste in my mouth.

The third from the end of the entire box is a Raspberry Meltaway.  It is a rectangular piece with two darker pink strips on the top. It has a strong raspberry fragrance that almost covers the creamy chocolate that each of these pieces has in the box.  It is a sweet raspberry flavor that blends well with the creamy chocolate coating and center that it is mixed with.

The final piece in the box is identifiable by the raised line of chocolate as a Michigan Cherry Meltaway.  There is a slight cherry scent to this meltaway and it makes a soft sound when you take a bite. Inside, as with all the other meltaways, is a semi-solid milk chocolate center flavored in this case with a very sweet, almost candied cherry.  The chocolate again just can't stand up well to the other flavor but perhaps a darker variety might.

In all this 12 oz gift box had 24 pieces of 13 different flavors and types of individual chocolate that South Bend Chocolate offers.  For a very creamy milk chocolate lover this is a good choice but if you like a darker chocolate or even a more intense milk chocolate, then you may want to try out a smaller sample first to see how you feel about this recipe.

In three posts I've revealed an entire gift basket from South Bend Chocolate Company to you just in time for a last minute winter holiday consideration, Sisters and Brothers, if you live in Indiana where you can find their cafes and their products in several locations.  If you don't live in Indiana, you can order them online year round.

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